gentrification or “urban renewal” (really a term used to invisibilize displacement of peoples) is essentially colonialism. when a place has endured a removal of lives, when its new inhabitants have joyfully erased its natives’ forced exodus (or have appropriated it to show progressiveness), when the process of “renewal” has replaced a natives’ culture and history with what is ahistorical (shiny shit that is used as an agent of forgetting), when there are forces of state violence (in this case the cops) protecting the lives and property of its new residents, what is it but colonization?

its appearance is just more comfortable to swallow now.

gentrifying san franscisco

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yesterday night I made a mistake. I make mistakes kinda often, I suppose. Been alone in my head and heart for so many years that I forget where I’m at sometimes. People know this about me, my fam especially. And it’s with this knowledge that I’m known by folks to be irresponsible, careless, forgetful, tardy to the party, spacey, clumsy, etc.

Since learning this, I really do try to be less of those things. but when I do exhibit those qualities, I judge myself with the voice of those who have judged me, and hard. Yesterday was one of those days. And as a strange (and mean) punishment, I told myself that I don’t deserve to sit because if i cannot have my mindfulness shift from meditation to my day-to-day then fuck it.

these were my stories yesterday in the thick of it.

today i sat. because i do make mistakes. the fucking end.

free moving parts.

i hold tension- my jaw tightens, my stomach locks, my eyebrows furrow, my shoulders become friendly with my ears. and when i sit, my purpose is to notice, so i notice these parts held and i loosen my grip and release. but its because im sitting in place with the purpose of noticing that release happens. how often in my day, with all the movings, reactivities and stressors, do i notice when i hold, grip and tighten the many parts of me that want to be free?

how often can i notice it now?

when i cease holding focus with my breath, when my thoughts, stories and imaginings begin to hold me instead, physical discomfort (and essentially most internal sensations-pleasant, neutral and unpleasant) cease to be noticed as well.

how often am i held by mental activity of what had once existed, can possibly exist or will exist, instead of feeling the seemingly imperceptible and constant change that drives my body and spirit?

how often do i use distraction as a method of leaning away from discomfort? when am i able to lean towards it?

beautiful poetics in the forms of words, pictures and other imaginings move through my  mind while meditating.

it’s during these moments that i notice three observations:

1. i enjoy so thoroughly getting lost in the beautiful.

2. i crave to possess all which i imagine because i fear i will lose them if i don’t.

3. these imaginings veer me from learning quiet more deeply.

sometimes i have these out of body moments where in the midst of quiet, my spirit is pulled to some place i haven’t quite been. i see something, i feel many. and then i’m back. tonight it happened again.

as i sit here on this sunday evening, reading my book nestled into soft brown couch with big warm blanket, war is happening.

so many with bullet wounds, bare stomachs and steel bars as their only windows.

so many fighting for their last breath, first meal and second chance.

so many with so many others yelling, pleading, whispering “freedom.”

this comfort is ugly.

it arrives with a pool of red sweat and carcass.

it arrives because this land is its graveyard.

it arrives because we crave it too much to stop it.

our comfort has become our only privilege and it has become dangerous.

dangerous enough that we will cry, die, slave for it rather than for our freedom.

dangerous enough to keep us chained to our tv, to our desks, to this couch rather than to the streets, to the struggle, to our people.

dangerous enough to kill us.

and tonight, unlike most nights, i smell death in the comfort of my own home.